Thursday 24 September 2020

MPs slam ‘wasteful’ plan to take empty government jet on royal Australia trip

The Dutch government jet. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch government jet. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

MPs have accused the government of wasting tens of thousands of euros by flying the government jet to Australia to take king Willem-Alexander around the country during next month’s state visit.

The king and queen Maxima fly to Australia next week using a regular flight, but the official jet is needed for trips between cities, the state information service has told broadcaster RTL Nieuws.

RTL estimates the cost flying the government jet to Australia and back at some €250,000. The Fokker 70 has a maximum range of 3,000 kilometres and needs to make six landings en route, aviation expert Joris Melkert told the broadcaster. The RVD says the journey will take 2.5 days.

The state information service RVD says the Dutch jet is needed because the royals have such a busy programme that they cannot take regular internal flights. In addition, renting a private jet in Australia is too expensive, the RVD said in a statement.

MPs have described the plan as a waste of money. ‘Flying an empty jet to Australia is expensive and polluting,’ said GroenLinks MP Liesbeth van Tongeren. ‘I’d like the king and queen to ask themselves if there is another solution.’

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